An interesting study was published late Thursday about America’s perception of Edward Snowden, the ex-NSA contractor who leaked classified information about America’s illegal spying operations against its citizens.
The poll is interesting because it shows a deep divide in the nation between those who understand technology and are able to see its implications and those who don’t and are not.
Pollsters KRC Research found about 64 percent of Americans, who are familiar with Snowden, hold a negative opinion of him.
Yet 56 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 have a positive opinion of Snowden. This contrasts sharply with older age cohorts. As the age of cohorts increases, Snowden’s popularity decreases.
“The broad support for Edward Snowden among millennials around the world should be a message to democratic countries that change is coming,” says Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “They are a generation of digital natives who don’t want government agencies tracking them online or collecting data about their phone calls.”
The views of millennials are significant in light of a January 2015 finding by the U.S. Census Bureau that they will surpass the baby-boom generation as the United States’ largest living generation this year. This news should be heeded by politicians as they take stances on the controversial national security issue in the upcoming elections.
Millenials appreciate the effect of a spy agency having a dossier on every single American citizen. They appreciate that core values of the United States – like democracy, the judicial process and civil liberties – are serious compromised when this type of program is in existence.
It will be curious to see which politicians pick up on this shift in voter demographics and align their policies with this significant cohort.